Sunday 15 December 2019

Killer of Jerry McCabe attacked with machete

Michael O Neill, one of the four IRA men convicted of killing Det. Garda Jerry McCabe
Michael O Neill, one of the four IRA men convicted of killing Det. Garda Jerry McCabe
Det Gda Jerry McCabe was gunned down by an IRA gang during a 1996 robbery in Adare, Co Limerick

Gordon Deegan

One of the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe has been attacked at his home by two men with, one of whom was wielding a machete.

Michael O'Neill (63) was of four people convicted of the June 1996 manslaughter of Det Garda McCabe when the officer was shot dead by members of an IRA gang at Adare, Co Limerick.

O'Neill was jailed in February 1999 for 11 years for the manslaughter of Det McCabe and was released in 2007 with Taoiseach Enda Kenny stating at the time that he was "disgusted" by what he called O'Neill's early release.

A garda source confirmed that O'Neill's home in Ennis was recently targeted at 3am in the morning.

All of the house's windows were broken and two cars were also damaged.

Mr O'Neill received a blow to the head when the men broke the window of the room in the house where he was sleeping.

The two attackers - who then fled the scene - were described as being in their early 20s and having light-coloured hair.

An ambulance arrived at the scene, but Mr O'Neill refused any treatment.

The damage to the cars and the home is estimated to be around €2,000.

A garda spokesman said that an investigation is continuing into the incident, but no arrests have been made.

It is the second incident to occur at the address where O'Neill lives in the converted garage with his partner.

In May of this year, O'Neill was before Ennis District Court concerning two charges arising from an incident outside the property in the early hours of January 21, 2013.

In evidence in the case, Sgt Mark Murphy said that O'Neill "took the law into his own hands" and was "the main aggressor" when he confronted another man with a wheel brace at Abbeyville, Ennis.

Sgt Murphy said: "Mr O'Neill walked towards the other men in an aggressive manner."

O'Neill was charged with producing a wheel brace in the course of a dispute capable of inflicting serious injury in a public place contrary to Section 11 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act and engaging in threatening, abusive words with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

In the case, solicitor for O'Neill, Tara Godfrey said that her client produced the wheel-brace to repel five men away from his property and that he honestly believed that one of the men damaged his car.

Ms Godfrey said that the men told Mr O'Neill "to get the f**k back into the flat or we will beat the f**k out of you' and it was then that Mr O'Neill went to his car to get the wheel brace.

Mr O'Neill also heard another say 'we will burn it'.

"He got the wheel brace out with the intention to repel these people and keep them away from his property."

Damaged

She added: "My client honestly believed that these people had damaged his car and there is a defence in criminal law that in those circumstances he was entitled to threaten to apply force."

However, after an application by Ms Godfrey claiming that the charge fails as it didn't take place in a public place, Judge Mary Larkin agreed.

She dismissed the charges against O'Neill stating that "it is quite clear that the law doesn't extend the public place to a private roadway".

Gardai investigations into the more recent incident are ongoing.

Irish Independent

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